President Obama Signs Executive Order Protecting GLBT Federal Employees, Media Ignores Representation from Bisexual Community at Signing Ceremony
When President Obama recently signed an Executive Order protecting GLBT federal workers from employment discrimination, it was a big deal. Representatives from a variety of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities were present at the signing. Most media reports, however, neglected to note the presence of BiNet USA president and long time bisexual activist Faith Cheltenham, who has spoken and written incisively about workplace discrimination experience by bisexual folks in the past (see Workplace Discrimination Series: Faith Cheltenham).
Bi+ folks are speaking up about this notable instance of bisexual erasure. BOP Chair Camille Holthaus wrote an excellent piece on her blog called Bi Erasure or Why Presidential Hugs Don’t Mean We’re Visible.
Bi erasure is complicated. It is done to us when bisexuals are relabeled as gay, lesbian or straight by the media or historians. It is done to us when headlines, event announcements and “inclusive” pride parades don’t say bisexual. We do it to ourselves whenever we allow someone to assume that we are straight, gay or lesbian.
GLAAD is one of the few groups that reported on the presence of Faith Cheltenham at this historic event: Obama Historically Joined by Trans and Gay Faith Leaders, Bi Advocates in Signing Executive Order. GLAAD also reported on the bi erasure by most news and other media in Reporting Erases Bi Presence, Community Members at Executive Order Signing and they quoted extensively from Camille Holthaus' blog post.
You can read more about the Executive Order and the signing ceremony here: President Obama Signs a New Executive Order to Protect LGBT Workers and watch video of the ceremony below.
BECAUSE 2020 Cancelled
The BECAUSE leadership team and the BOP board have been reviewing forecasts for what this Fall will look like including continued COVID hotspots, limitations on travel, and how people are going to be feeling about being large groups. We feel the most responsible action at this time is to cancel BECAUSE 2020. We have explored moving the conference on line as many conferences and gatherings have done and find it is not the best option for BECAUSE.
The BOP board is developing virtual community building that we hope will help bridge this time for our community. Please check out BOP's Facebook Page, Facebook Group, Meetup Group, and Twitter to stay informed of upcoming events.
We are currently in discussion with our location, Wellstone Center, and our planned speakers and special guests to make BECAUSE 2021 one of the best ever. We hope you will join us in October 2021.
Build, serve and advocate for an empowered bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, and unlabeled (bi+) community to promote social justice.
Within the next five years grow Bisexual Organizing Project (BOP) into a successfully-run Upper Midwest nonprofit organization with annual funding of $100,000 that provides community building, education, and advocacy for the bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, and unlabeled (bi+) community and our allies.